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Liberalization a joint decision, Wu says

Liberalization a joint decision, Wu says

The decision by the Democratic Progressive Party government to allow Taiwan semiconductor wafer foundries in China to use more advanced technology was a joint decision between the presidency and the Executive Yuan, a senior Cabinet official stated yesterday.
Mainland Affairs Council Chairman Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) stated that the decision to allow Taiwan semiconductor wafer makers to make eight-inch wafers using 0.18 micron process technology was "not a matter that could be decided by the say-so" of either President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) or Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), but was a collective decision among the presidency, the National Security Council (國家安全會議), and the Executive branch.
Wu made the remarks just before attending a two-day "Cabinet Year-end Re-examination Seminar" held at the Bank of Taiwan Training Center in Yangmingshan yesterday afternoon.
The seminar was hosted by Premier Su Tseng-chang, who stated that he had invited over 30 Cabinet-level officials to the training center to "discuss in a relaxed environment what we have done in the past year and how we can improve."
After a free-wheeling discussion in the afternoon, the premier, Cabinet members and reporters held a karaoke party in the evening and are scheduled to conclude the session today with a three-hour "health hike" in the Yangmingshan National Park before returning to Taipei after lunch.
Speaking to reporters after arriving at the training center, Wu rebutted media reports that the decision reflected major policy differences between President Chen and Premier Su, who is said to have adopted a "revisionist" stance that is more "liberal" or "accommodating to business expectations."
"Many media have talked about 'Su Revisionism,' but this phrase is an invention of the media," Wu stated.
"This is not something that either the president or the premier can decide, but must be decided through interaction between the Office of the President and the Executive Yuan and related agencies because it involves overall national policy," said Wu.
Wu noted that the decision was based on various factors, including changes in the 1996 Wassenaar Arrangement, a 40-country body based in Vienna that oversees controls on international transfer of conventional arms and "dual-use" products and technologies for both commercial or military use.
The Wassenaar Arrangement downgraded in 2004 its restriction on exports of semiconductor manufacturing technologies from 0.35 micron to 0.18 micron based techniques, a move which led to the lifting of United States export controls on 0.18 micron technology.
The MAC chief stated that the liberalization only allows Taiwan mother companies to utilize 0.18 micron process technology in their own subsidiary fabrication plants for eight-inch wafers in China and "does not involve any migration of technology."
Wu told The Taiwan News that the government believed the partial liberalization would not lead to dissemination of sensitive technology to PRC companies, but acknowledged that "there would be concern for the migration of sensitive technology to the PRC if there was technology cooperation between Taiwan and Chinese companies."
The MAC chairman acknowledged that "if Taiwan companies engaged in technology cooperation with PRC companies with this technology, then we would be worried that core technology could be migrated," but stressed that under the current degree of liberalization, "there are no such concerns."
Nevertheless, Wu told The Taiwan News that, despite the liberalization, the MAC believes that the prompt passage of a draft law for the protection of sensitive technology is "extremely vital to prevent our high technology and our technological lead from flowing to China."
Regarding reports that President Chen may announce moves to liberalize direct transportation links with China, the MAC's Wu said that "there should not be" any such announcement. The MAC chairman said "the most important precondition is that China should open talks with Taiwan," but that "to the present, China has not shown any willingness to engage in consultations with Taiwan on direct links."


Updated : 2021-06-14 11:03 GMT+08:00